I don’t know if it’s just me, but I hate the feeling that you get when Christmas and New Year are over; the tree comes down, the decorations are packed away in the loft for another year, and with it comes the realisation that I will soon have to go back to work. It sometimes makes me feel sad, even a bit depressed, that I’ve got to wait a whole year before it happens again!

We’ve even now got a special day to celebrate this most depressing day of the year, known as ‘Blue Monday’, which typically falls on the third Monday of January. Research published in 2005 takes in data from many factors, including weather, debt, time since Christmas, time since failing new year’s resolutions and low motivational levels. A panel of experts (!) even came up with a formula to work it all out!

I’m sure that most – if not all – of us have a ‘go-to’ verse or passage from the Bible. Perhaps it’s one that you have close to hand at those times when you feel a bit down, a bit sad, a bit depressed. Mine is unquestionably Psalm 42:

It stems from a period during my teenage years when being the only Christian at school was proving to be a challenge. At times, I felt really discouraged; I was trying so hard to live for Jesus, to nail my colours to the mast, but I was facing the questions that this psalmist was being asked, and occasionally they were followed with some separate physical questioning, which hurt! My classmates would ask, as it says in verse 3, “Where is this God of yours?”

I couldn’t always answer the questions I was asked. I felt frustrated to the point where I would say, like the psalmist, “Sometimes I ask God, my rock-solid God, “Why did you let me down? Why am I walking around in tears, harassed by enemies?” (v9)

I could have given up, thrown the towel in and kept my head down. Instead, I took huge comfort and encouragement from verse 11: “Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God—soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God.”

And, do you know what? God, as He always does, came through. And so I carried on. And He encouraged and blessed me down the line when the biggest atheist in the class gave his heart to Jesus. Wow! What was the key? Fixing my eyes on God.

Let me ask you a question: what are your eyes fixed on? What gets your focus?

Whatever situation you’re going through that’s making you feel sad or down, perhaps to the point where you’re asking, “Where are you, God? Why did you let me down?”, let me remind you of the promise of the verses of this psalm. That if we fix our eyes on Him and drink Him in (v2), He will put a smile on our face (v11)